Series 1 of a 4 part series debunking common health myths, reclaiming your right to real health and giving you some better alternatives
When I was a kid growing up, the first sign of sniffles meant out came the orange juice.
Even without sniffles, it was considered part of our family’s balanced diet- especially at breakfast time.
However, since I entered Japanese Yoga land, much has changed.
Especially my attitude to Orange Juice (and juice in general)!
In this first of a 4 part series, we’re putting on our Ninja Mythbusters hats to explore some common myths most of us have been brought up to believe support our health – when in actual fact they don’t.
Or at least according to Japanese Yoga approaches to wellbeing and health.
Series #1 and # 2 will look at mythbusting orange juice and giving you some recipes that’ll help heal your cold
Series #3 and #4 explores another of the great health myths of all times and there’ll be follow-up with some alternative recipes.
So, WHAT IS the Japanese Yoga stance on food?
Japanese Yoga is a lot more than physical poses – there’s also an emphasis on nutrition and using ‘food as medicine’ in everyday life.
It’s a common sense approach to food where there’s no strict diet regime and nothing is forced.
The basic elements are:
Like all eating approaches, there’s a point where you need to make the call for yourself how far you want to go with it.
For me personally, I’m at the point where I’m naturally drawn to this style of eating and feel energised, clear in the head and healthiest when I eat that way 90% of the time.
But it doesn’t mean I’m going to turn down a piece of cake at my aunt’s 70th birthday (especially if it’s Lemon Cheesecake!) or the occasional glass of Pinot on a Friday night.
This eating approach is called ‘Macrobiotic’ in Japanese Yoga circles and beyond.
Maybe you’ve heard of it?
Those who take it to the extremes are known as ‘Macroneurotic’ lol.
If you’re curious to learn more (about macrobiotics, NOT macroneurotics!), check out this article
But for now, back to the OJ!
Did you know that Orange Juice is high in the sugar fructose?
It may look different to the white, processed sugar in a Mars Bar or a Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, but for your body it has the same effect.
Sure, it has some vitamins — orange juice even has a small amount of protein — but research shows the best way to get both of those nutrients is by eating a balanced diet full of vegetables, some fruits (NOT juice), and whole grains.
And while I’m on the anti-juice soapbox, in terms of its nutritional profile, juice isn’t too much better for you than a glass of soft drink or any other sweetened beverage.
In Japanese Yoga, we minimise sugar intake, believing the evidence from science that sugar’s one of the main causes of inflammation in the body.
Not only that, sugar robs the body of minerals, causing brittle bones and depleting iron and calcium stores.
And the big kahuna: With Orange juice being high in the sugar ‘fructose’, evidence shows it suppresses your immune system.
Which is very bad news for colds.
Because when you get a cold you want to be supporting your immune system and making it stronger.
Not suppressing it.
So – you’ve got a cold, you’ve chucked out the orange juice- what do you do?
There’s a couple of basic things you can do right now:
Stop ALL dairy (it’ll turn you into a mucous factory)
Stop ALL heavy foods that take the body a lot of effort to digest (eg: meat)
Stop ALL sugar (including juices, honey, alcohol)
Eat very simple, plain foods high in nutrients and easy to digest.
Illness prolonging, no.
So it’s a bit of a toss-up: do you go for ‘exciting’ foods when you’re sick that keep you sick for longer and slow you down from leading an exciting life?
Or do you go for the ‘boring’ foods that get you better quickly and help you lead an exciting life?!
One of my Japanese Yoga teachers said if you’re ever sick with a cold for more than 3 days then you’re not eating the right food.
In other words- your body’s designed to recover and return to health quickly and efficiently.
As long as you give it the right fuel.
You wouldn’t put orange juice in your car and expect it to function well- the same goes for your body.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.
In Series #2 I’ll be sharing 3 basic Japanese Yoga recipes (aka body fuel) that’ll better support you and your loved ones next time you come down with a cold.